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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 15, 2013

Date published:
April 15, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Kreuziger repays Saxo-Tinkoff's confidence with Amstel Gold win

    Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) wins the Amstel Gold Race 2013
    Article published:
    April 14, 2013, 18:31 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Czech still focussed on Grand Tours after Classic success

    Roman Kreuziger's victory in Amstel Gold Race on Sunday was one that proved a point. The Saxo-Tinkoff recruit best-known for his performances in stage races and Grand Tours, wondered aloud why anyone had questioned his abilities in the first place.

    "Well I think the only people with doubts about me were the journalists, but not me," he said.

    The 26-year-old Czech made his key move with nine kilometres remaining, joining Lars Petter Nordhaug (Blanco), Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEdge) and Katusha's Giampaolo Caruso but two kilometres further up the road, he dropped his pursuants and went for broke in a strong solo attack. Head down, Kreuzinger went into time trial mode.

    "In a race like this one, in the first 150km, you're never sure what can happen, even if you feel very good," he explained.

    "Today I really believed it was possible for me to win only in the last 500 metres."

    Already with overall wins at the Tour of Romandie and Suisse on his palmares, expectations surrounding Kreuziger have been understandably high, particularly when it comes to his performances at the Giro d'Italia where in 2011 he finished fifth overall and took out the young rider's classification, and in 2012 won a mountain stage. When it was announced he had signed for the Danish Saxo-Tinkoff team from Astana, where he'd been for two years after bursting onto the scene with Liquigas, confidence in the team was mentioned as a key factor, so it was no surprise that it was again mentioned following his victory on Sunday.

    "I think that now I feel very good with my team Saxo-Tinkoff, and we've got riders who can do very great things," Kreuziger explained. "But I've found in this team the confidence that I needed, and this week was very important for me. They...

  • Cramps derail Sagan's Amstel Gold Race chances

    Overwhelming pre-race favorite Peter Sagan struggled with the warm temperatures
    Article published:
    April 14, 2013, 19:37 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Slovakian champion struggles with warm weather

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was widely expected to take a top result in the Amstel Gold Race, but instead was forced to settle for a lowly 36th. The Slovakian champion, who was third in Amstel in 2012, and who won the key Amstel warm-up race, Brabantse Pijl, on Wednesday, said he felt ill in the last part of the race and could not make the running as he had expected.

    "I felt rough, about 30 to 40 kilometres to go," Sagan told reporters afterwards. "It wasn't ideal but there wasn't anything I could do, I was cramping up."

    Sagan said he tried as best as he could to play a part in the finale, but his strength was ebbing fast.

    "When [Philippe] Gilbert (BMC) attacked, I wanted to follow him, but it simply wasn't possible. I didn't have the strength to do it."

    "I think was because it was a warm day. In last two months I always raced with low temperatures, today my legs suffered in the change of the weather."

    Reports earlier this week strongly suggested that Sagan will end his Classics campaign at Amstel Gold, having already won Gent-Wevelgem, two stages of Tirreno, Brabantse Pijl and taken second places in Milan-San Remo, Flanders and E3-Prijs Vlaanderen. He is also second overall in the WorldTour rankings, behind Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack).

    Sagan confirmed in a press release that he would decide about Fleche Wallonne tomorrow.

  • Gilbert eying Classics with rising form

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) tries to get across on the Cauberg
    Article published:
    April 14, 2013, 20:40 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    World Champion content with fifth place in Amstel after mid-race crash

    Fifth on the same climb where he claimed the World Championships seven months ago, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) said that even if he was not the strongest at Amstel Gold Race, he feels he is hitting top form just in time for the remaining Ardennes Classics.

    A crash mid-race had not made the Amstel Gold any easier for the Belgian, and his late attack, whilst searing, lacked the final sizzle that had seen him shake off all his pursuers in the World Championships in 2012.

    Sitting at the foot of his team bus just a few hundred yards from the Cauberg finish, Gilbert said "I was not the strongest today, if I was I'd have won - but I was amongst the favourites, I'm getting stronger with each race and that's important, too."

    "It was also very special to be able to go up the Cauberg wearing the rainbow jersey, particularly the last time - a very good feeling. It gave me some good memories."

    He also said he regretted that Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) had not, in his opinion, collaborated on the Cauberg to try to bring back Kreuziger: He knew that the Czech rider was a very dangerous candidate because "he's already taken a top five in Liège and that doesn't happen by chance."

    As for the accident which had him picking himself up off the pavement with some 90km left to race, he said, "It happened when a rider fell just ahead of me, I don't know who it was, I was about 15 guys back and skidded about 15 meters. Fortunately it wasn't too bad and John [Lelangue] was able to help get me back up to the peloton fairly quickly," a maneuver that Gilbert said that despite being necessary after his crash, might end up costing the team a small fine.

    Gilbert said the unusual weather - humid and overcast, first chilly with light rain in the morning...

  • Gerrans goes toe-to-toe with Valverde in Amstel Gold finale

    'Yeah that's right, winning' Simon Gerrans happy with the day's outcome
    Article published:
    April 14, 2013, 22:00 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Orica GreenEdge rider still undecided on Flèche Wallonne

    Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) have made a habit of going toe-to-toe for the podium in recent seasons. So far, the Spaniard is ahead 3-1 with Amstel Gold Race just the latest edition of the rivalry, where the pair raced for second place behind escapee Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff).

    "It's true, Alejandro and I have had some great battles," admitted Gerrans, third place across the line in Valkenburg.

    "Unfortunately today we were racing for second place. He just beat me for second place but I'm pretty happy with my third place today.

    "I think I did everything that I could as did my teammates who did some great work for me. As much as it would have been nice to have been racing for the victory, Roman [Kreuziger] was too strong and we couldn't quite catch him."

    Today's result followed Valverde's stage win on Old Willunga Hill at the Tour Down Under in 2012, Gerrans's overall victory at the same race and then the Movistar rider's narrow win at Lac de Vassivière in last year's edition of Paris-Nice.

    Gerrans was also quick to praise the gritty attack from teammate Pieter Weening who attacked off the front of the main peloton on the Eyserbosweg with just under 40km to go, while he waited for the final ascent of the Cauberg.

    "I'm not quite sure how it unfolded and how Kreuziger got away but Pieter did a really strong ride to be attacking from so far out and to stay up the front like that," Gerrans said. "It was my aim to race the final really aggressively, so I'm really pleased with how my teammates rode today."

    With Kreuziger up ahead on the Cauberg, Gerrans had been piloted into perfect position by Simon Clarke and Daryl Impey with two kilometers left to race at Amstel Gold. Teeth...

  • Haas on track to fulfill Ardennes adventure

    Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    April 14, 2013, 23:30 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Twitter saves Australian from missing Amstel Gold

    Nathan Haas was not expecting the call up for Garmin-Sharp's Amstel Gold Race squad and it came in the most unexpected manner.

    Racing Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday, he made a daring attack off the front with around 65km. Although he admits it wasn't his "smartest move", it was enough to suggest to team boss Jonathan Vaughters that the Australian deserved the open spot for the Amstel Gold Race.

    The only problem was, that Vaughters couldn't get through to Haas when he tried to call at the end of the race; the 24-year-old was headed for the airport to fly back his Spanish base in Girona. To stop him getting on the plane, the only solution was twitter.

    "I'll try this... If anyone is near @NathanPeterHaas please tell him he just got the last minute call up to do Amstel. And turn on his phone!"

    Fortunately Vaughters' Twitter plea worked.

    Haas laughed with Cyclingnews when recounting the story in Maastricht's Markt Square before the start of the Amstel Gold Race but there was a very serious side to him being there.

    "I've been wanting to do this race my whole life," he admitted. "It's my favourite race in cycling so I'm pretty excited.

    "It's just like a big crazy mountain bike race," Haas continued, having formerly excelled in the discipline before switching his focus to the road. "It's always a real rider that wins it so I'm pretty excited to be at the start."

    Haas' Ardennes adventure may not end with 75th place at the Amstel Gold Race, 9:12 down on winner Roman Kreuziger.

    "I found out I might be doing Fleche now as well and that might string on to Liege now too," he explained.

    Fact is, Haas was pleasantly surprised by his form at Brabantse Pijl - "I thought I'd be going shockers," he said.

    Haas struggled off the back of...

  • Kimmage angered by Cycling Ireland's support for McQuaid

    Paul Kimmage
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 2:58 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Change Cycling Now "hasn't worked, it's been a lot of hot air"

    Paul Kimmage has reacted with anger and disappointment to the news that Cycling Ireland has endorsed Pat McQuaid's bid to seek re-election as the President of cycling's governing body the UCI.

    Cycling Ireland's board members voted 5-1 in favour of endorsing McQuaid, who is seeking his third term as president, and although the UCI's presidential election does not take place until the Autumn of this year no further candidates have stepped forward.

    Kimmage has been one of McQuaid's harshest critics in recent years and was even sued for defamation by McQuaid and his predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, in a Swiss court before the case was withdrawn.

    On the news that Cycling Ireland has agreed to back McQuaid, Kimmmage told Cyclingnews, "They voted for Ireland and they've fucked cycling."

    Kimmage had been hoping that Cycling Ireland would resist McQuaid's request as without the support of the Irish board the UCI President would have needed to have taken the embarrassing step of applying for Swiss support, a standing he qualifies for by the fact he lives in Switzerland.

    McQuaid and the UCI have endured a torturous 12 months, with USADA's Reasoned Decision into Lance Amstrong and US Postal highlighting the short comings of international testing and the alleged links to covered up test results. Cycling's governing body was also heavily criticised for accepting donations from Armstrong as well as their decision to contest USADA's jurisdiction in the US Postal case. The...

  • Law silences critics with Tour de Perth victory

    Scott Law (GPM-Data#3) takes out the final stage at Woodside Tour de Perth
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 4:54 BST
    Alex Malone

    Team morale a key part to GPM-Data#3's success

    With one of the fastest kicks in the domestic peloton Scott Law has enjoyed his fair share of podium time in recent years but his victory on the final day at the Woodside Tour de Perth surprisingly marked just his second stage win in the National Road Series. He took to the top step, in the NRS, at Tour of the Murray in 2010 but the animated salute in Perth wasn't just about personal achievement, it also served to silence those who suggested GPM-Data#3 were not strong enough to compete against the likes of Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers and Budget Forklifts - the two top-ranked teams in Australia.

    Law endured a stint in Belgium in 2012 with the An Post - Sean Kelly squad after taking out the U23 Australian criterium title but it didn't provide an environment where the 22-year-old felt he could flourish. Now racing with GPM-Data#3 Law says his morale has never been better and it's largely in part to the squad that is known among the NRS scene to truly enjoy every race they attend.

    Picking eight-riders from the line-up of 16 for each NRS event is a task which team manager Trent Wilson never enjoys for the simple fact that his riders are all eager to race. Motivation and a real bond within the squad played a significant part in the victory in Bold Park, according to Law.

    "That's one thing I've been lacking for the past year or two was being within a team that has that mateship about it; where everyone gets along really well and enjoys racing," Law told Cyclingnews.

    Coming back to the NRS has provided Law with a better balance between his usual life and cycling ambitions and says that riding under the wing or Wilson, or 'Willo' as he's affectionately known has given him that little extra nudge that every...

  • Voeckler out with broken collarbone

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) crashed out of the Amstel Gold Race
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 6:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman may face surgery after Amstel Gold Race crash

    Thomas Voeckler's Classics campaign ended today with a broken right collarbone as a result of a fall in the Amstel Gold Race, Team Europcar confirmed after the Frenchman was examined at a Maastricht hospital. He will travel on Monday to Nantes to determine if the break requires surgery.

    "Thomas has suffered a broken right collarbone. He was put on a stretcher and taken to hospital but he will return with us to France. The next step will be an operation at the Nantes polyclinic on Monday," said directeur sportif Andy Flickinger.

    Voeckler was involved in a large crash with 92km left to race. Also involved was world champion Philippe Gilbert, however the BMC rider went on to finish fifth. RadioShack-Leopard's Andy Schleck also left the race following the wreck, but the Luxembourger walked away with only scrapes and bruises.

    Voeckler will miss the upcoming Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and the Four Days of Dunkirk, but until the collarbone is repaired, the team said it cannot determine when he will return.

    The Tour de France is the main objective of the season for Voeckler, who in 2012 wore the race's yellow jersey for 10 days and won two mountain stages.